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2023/2024 NPFL Match Day 20: Champions, Enyimba Int'l FC welcome energized Shooting Stars FC

Posted : 17 February 2024

As hostilities resume once again in the 2023/2024 Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) for the last lap, it will undoubtedly be a time for various clubs to either shape in or shape out because these last matches will be the determining factors for winners and losers of the game.

However, one of the teams that has always been on the lips of everyone is the nine-time champions of the league and arguably the most successful clubside in Nigeria, with two Champions League titles, Enyimba International FC.

Enyimba International FC has not hidden their obsession with winning the league again and always restates it at any given time.

Although the Peoples Elephant did not start in blazing form, they are now getting themselves back in the game with exciting wins, especially when they won away at Ibadan against the Shooting Stars SC, which got many talking due to alleged poor officiating.

While they are waiting for the return leg, Enyimba International’s Sporting Director, Ifeanyi Ekwueme, has highlighted the club's ambitions for the 2023/2024 NPFL season, as the Aba-based side targets the league trophy and securing a continental ticket.

Ekwueme said in an interview that the club was well-prepared to win the league again.

“We have used the first stanza to stabilize; now we are going to push more to maintain the pace to the end,” Ekwueme said.

“The club has just filled the necessary positions that the team lacked in the first stanza, so we are prepared for the second stanza of the league.”

“We did that so the technical crew can carry out its duties well and is happy with the new arrivals.

``We are going to push more to maintain the pace till the end, and the continental ticket is where we are looking at.”

Ekwueme also said that the new players that were brought to the club are currently the top players in other clubs. According to the Sporting Director, mid-season transfers are the most difficult window in football.

“All the members of management are happy with our Chairman, Kanu Nwankwo,” he added. “He is a secret workaholic, and his exploits within six months attract good players.”

Ekwueme said the new players were ready to offer the team what made the management bring them to the club.

For Enyimba International, they will be happy to have their coach, Finidi George, who was away with the Silver-winning Super Eagles, back in their fold and also the only lucky home-based goalkeeper in the AFCON squad, who is also the skipper of the club, Ojo Olorunleke, returning to the club.

For the Oluyole Warriors, the last 1-2 defeat suffered against the Peoples Elephants at their home ground Lekan Salami Stadium Ibadan is still hurting, and they will aim at revenge in Aba at the Enyimba International Stadium.

The return fixtures will be crucial for both teams while Enyimba will hope to resume the claim of the bragging right, the energized Shooting Stars who have been busy in the mid-season transfer window market with the acquisition of six players will aim to justify their spending.

Heading to the second stanza, Enyimba International FC sits in the 5th position with 32 points, having won 10 matches out of 19 with two draws and seven losses.

Oluyole Warriors, on the other hand, sit six places away in 11th place with 26 points from 19 matches, seven wins, five draws, and seven losses.

In the forthcoming fixture at Enyimba International Stadium, a glance at the stats provides a revealing picture. Enyimba boasts a strong home record with a 67 per cent win rate, and they are particularly formidable at home.

In the last nine matches, Enyimba International has won most duels with five wins, as against Shooting Stars with three wins, while the other three matches ended in a draw.

H2H Shooting Stars - Enyimba International (21.01.2024) 1:2 Shooting Stars - Enyimba International (21.05.2023) 0:0 Enyimba International - Shooting Stars (15.02.2023) 2:0 Shooting Stars - Enyimba International (25.04.2022) 2:0 Enyimba International - Shooting Stars (09.01.2022) 1:0 Shooting Stars - Enyimba International (23.07.2017) 1:0 Enyimba International - Shooting Stars (01.03.2017) 0:0 Shooting Stars - Enyimba International (12.06.2016) 1:0 Enyimba International - Shooting Stars (30.03.2016) 2:0 Enyimba International - Shooting Stars (11.10.2015) 2:1 Shooting Stars - Enyimba International (21.06.2015) 0:0


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